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No. 10 @ASUWrestling Begins 2021 Season Against Little Rock in Tempe

Jan 1, 2021

Sun Devil Home Events in 2020-21

TEMPE, Ariz. — The No. 10 Sun Devil Wrestling team opens the 2020-21 season in Tempe, against Pac-12 opponent Little Rock on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 12 p.m. (MST). The bout will be broadcast live on ASU Live Stream on Pac-12.com

"Little Rock, a Pac-12 team, who is always well coached and ready to go will be a fun opening home test for us," head coach Zeke Jones said. "They took three matches from us last year so we can't let our guard down as we need to be ready to battle on the mat."

Last season's 38-9 victory over Little Rock was the first in Sun Devil history as it was the Trojans' inaugural season as a division one program. In the win, ASU notched seven bonus-point wins and had three-straight pins including pins from redshirt senior Anthony Valencia (165) and senior Kordell Norfleet (197). 

Following the scheduled dual meet, there will be approximately 18 extra individual matches. Due to the unusual schedule this season, the teams agreed to additional matches with the goal to help individual wrestlers reach the minimum amount of matches needed to participate in and/or qualify for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 

POTENTIAL MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Little Rock Arkansas v. #10 Arizona State

125: Jayden Carson vs. #7 Brandon Courtney

133: Paul Bianchi vs. #8 Michael McGee

141: Conor Ward vs. #32 Peter Lipari

149: Kyle Prewitt vs. Cory Crooks

157: Noah Aziere vs. #7 Jacori Teemer

165: Alex Hernandez vs. #5 Anthony Valencia

174: Tristan Wills vs. Zane Coleman

184: Zane Davis vs. Cade Belshay

197: Dylan Johnson vs. #6 Kordell Norfleet

HWT: Gabe Beyer vs. #12 Cohlton Schultz

^OpenMat Rankings

Remember to follow all of the action from the weekend by following the team at @ASUWrestling on Twitter.

UP NEXT

Next weekend ASU will head to Norman for its first away duals of the year against No. 14 Oklahoma. The match will be featured on Fox Sports Arizona Plus Friday, January 8 at 6 p.m. 

ASU is 14-29-1 all-time vs. the Sooners and last faced Oklahoma in January 2019 when the teams split a pair of duals at the Virginia Duals. The last time the Sun Devils went to Norman they were defeated by Oklahoma 33-7 in 2012.

WHO TO WATCH

After redshirting the 2019-20 season, the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in heavyweight, Cohlton Schultz will take the mat for the Sun Devils this season. In the off-season Schultz claimed his second Greco-Roman 130 kg championship in Texas. He joins All-Americans Brandon Courtney (125), Anthony Valencia (165), Jacori Teemer (157) and Kordell Norfleet (197). Last season the Sun Devils earned their 21st all-time Pac-12 title and 19th in the Pac-10/12 era with individual conference champion performances from Courtney, Teemer, Valencia and Norfleet. Also joining the Sun Devils this year are transfers Michael McGee and Peter Lipari. McGee was a two-time Mid-American Conference Champion and NCAA qualifier at 125 pounds in his true freshman and sophomore season while compiling an impressive 61-16 record at ODU. Lipari, a graduate student, earned an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Championships after his ninth-place result at the Big Ten Championships while competing with Rutgers before transferring to Rider University for last season. There he went 10-6 and posted a win over nationally-ranked No. 21 Sa'Derian Perry of Old Dominion.

2021 SCHEDULE FEATURES 11 MATCHES

ASU will participate in five Pac-12 matches including a final trip to Stanford as they will be ending their wrestling program at the conclusion of this season. Before continuing their conference match-ups the Sun Devils will participate in a quad meet at Iowa State and a tri-dual at Utah Valley. To wrap up the 2020-21 season, the Pac-12 Championships will be in Corvallis at Oregon State on Feb. 27. The Sun Devils have won three Pac-12 titles in the last four years under Jones. 

THE STAFF

Joining head coach Zeke Jones on the 2020-21 coaching staff are eighth-year assistant coach Lee Pritts, and first-year assistant coaches Frank Molinaro and Mark Perry.

Pritts, considered one of the top recruiters in the country, previously worked at North Carolina State, Old Dominion, and Missouri. He was a two-time team captain and made three appearances in the NCAA Championships, earning All-America honors in 1996 for Eastern Michigan and qualified for the 2000 Olympic trials. In 2018, he was a coach for USA Wrestling at the Cadet Freestyle World Championships.

Molinaro trained with Oklahoma RTC to prepare for a chance at making it back on Team USA's roster for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo before the Olympic Committee announced postponement of the games to 2021. Now, he hangs up his wrestling shoes and will make his way back into coaching with the Sun Devils after previously working as an assistant coach with Virginia Tech in 2017-2018. Before coaching at Virginia Tech, Molinaro was also an assistant coach with Penn State and Rutgers. During Molinaro's collegiate career he was named NCAA champion with Penn State, a four-time NCAA All-American and a two-time Big Ten champion.

Perry, a two-time NCAA champion at Iowa and four-time All-American, has spent his time as a head coach at the Hawkeye Wrestling Club developing post-graduate wrestlers for national and international competition, training most notably 2017 World Silver medalist Thomas Gilman. He returned to Iowa City in 2017, where he has spent the last three seasons before taking the position with the Sun Devils.